A sign directs residents outside a polling station for the 2020 presidential election in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, October 12, 2020.
Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg | Getty Images
According to the US election project, more than 10.6 million voters in the US cast their vote in the November election on Tuesday morning.
With exactly three weeks until election day, voter turnout, both in person and by mail, is well above that of 2016. By October 16 of the last presidential election, only around 1.4 million voters had cast a vote.
The rising number of early votes is due to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for safer alternatives to voting. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that an expanded mail-in vote will lead to widespread electoral fraud.
The project, led by Professor Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, reports that Democrats are spearheading the historic advance in early voting. Of the 4.6 million postal ballot papers received, Democrats cast around 2.6 million.
McDonald emphasizes that the high turnout of the Democrats should not be interpreted as an indicator of the final election results.
"Yes the numbers are very good for Biden. The campaign must be pleased as they can use the bank voters to target their supporters who have not yet voted more efficiently. However, it is very likely that Republicans will go into effect around." to vote in person, "wrote McDonald on the US Elections Project website.
Over 46 million postal ballot papers requested across the country remain to be returned.
"I expect the Democratic narrative will shift in the coming weeks from euphoria over the apparently big clues in early voting to fear that a disproportionate number of younger voters have not yet returned their postal votes," wrote McDonald .
Early face-to-face voting began Monday morning in Georgia and Tuesday morning in Texas, and resulted in a high turnout and long lines.
NBC News reported Monday that the wait at polling stations in Georgia was 9 hours and 39 minutes. Districts in the state with large non-white populations in particular reported long lines, which supports research showing that race is a key indicator of how long a voter waits in line at a polling station.
Officials in Harris County, Texas's most populous county, reported Tuesday afternoon a record high on the first day of early voting with 68,000 ballots cast. And that with a five-hour vote.
North Carolina, a major swing state, will vote in person on Thursday. The state uses a "one-stop" model for early voting, which allows eligible North Carolinians to register and vote at the same time.
The US election project data shows that several states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, and Vermont, have already exceeded 20% of their total votes from 2016.